By Jennifer Newman on October 31, 2011
This Car Seat Check was first published in June 2011 on MotherProof.com.
Chrysler redesigned its iconic 300 sedan for the 2011 model year. The 300 and more powerful 300C are slightly wider and longer than the car it replaces. This allowed it to fit three child-safety seats in the backseat. For our Car Seat Check, we installed seats in the 300C.
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.
The front seats are adjusted to a comfortable position for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant seat and convertible seats are installed behind the passenger seat. We also install the infant seat in the second row's middle seat with the booster and convertible in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit. If there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible.
Here's how the 300 and 300C did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: We were pleasantly surprised to find three sets of lower Latch anchors in the sedan, giving each seating position its own dedicated set of anchors. The middle seat's anchors are really recessed and the outboard sets are surrounded by dense cushions, making them somewhat difficult to use. There are three tether anchors on the rear shelf behind the head restraints. There's not a lot of clearance around the anchors.
Booster seat: Our high-back booster seat fit well and wasn't impeded by the fixed head restraints. The seat belt buckles did cause some problems, though. The buckles are recessed and placed too close to the booster seat base. When buckling up the booster seat, the middle seat's buckle got in the way.
Convertible seat: This car seat's rigid Latch connectors easily pushed past the stiff seat cushions to grab onto the Latch anchors. The fixed head restraint pushed the forward-facing convertible forward slightly, so its back couldn't rest against the seatback. When in the rear-facing position, the convertible fit without having to move the front passenger seat forward.
Infant-safety seat: With this car seat's traditional Latch connectors, we had a harder time installing it. We had a difficult time pushing past the seat cushions to find the Latch anchors. Once installed, this seat fit in the second row.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Three. The car seats just fit, but there was enough room for a child's hand to fit between the booster seat and infant-safety seat when buckling up.
Editor's note: For three car seats — infant-safety seat, convertible and booster seats — to fit in a car, our criterion is that a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Newman is a certified car-seat technician. A mom of two, she owns a 2013 Subaru Outback crammed with sports gear. Email Jennifer